For 16 years, Paris Creperie has brought the taste of France to Coolidge Corner. Owner Charles Silverston wanted to share his favorite European street food with his hometown. More than a decade later, the restaurant stands as a testament to the power of a family owned, collaborative environment.
When catering and events manager Nick Mallia joined the team in 2002, the shop was a fledgling enterprise, catering mostly to the Brookline High after-school crowd.
“We always had that 2:15 pm rush of Nutella crepe orders,” says Mallia. “We really created a hotspot here in Coolidge Corner.”
Under his tutelage, the creperie grew to serve a broad demographic, honed its recipes to perfection and expanded into catering.
The Nutella crepes remain by far the most popular, but the menu has expanded to incorporate breakfast and lunch as well as dessert. They also serve up a monthly special flavor inspired by the season and the current pop culture. October’s flavor will be a strawberry crepe designed after Stephen King’s “Carrie.” Diners can pour a tiny bucket of “blood” (strawberry) over their crepe to really get the horror movie vibe.
The Paris Creperie team works collaboratively on everything. Employees are encouraged to try their hand at creating new recipes in crepes and special drinks. In fact, a creative former staff member with a culinary background created many of the current menu items. Mallia says one of the keys to the business’s success has been their open book policy. The business model keeps everything above board, meaning all the employees know the numbers and business details. That way everyone is working for mutual success.
Mallia also says that the creperie invests as much in their employees as the employees do in them. Everyone on the team goes to a two-day barista training course at Counter Culture in Somerville.
“Everyone knows how to do everything,” says Mallia. “It’s a very small town in a big city. Family owned and family oriented.”
It’s that strong sense of community and relationships that make the creperie uniquely Brookline.
Though the team has found the recipe for sweet success, they know better than to rest on their laurels. Mallia says he’d love to incorporate wine, beer and classic French cocktails down the road. After all, what would accent a breakfast crepe better than a mimosa?
Mallia’s favorite crepes are the “Great Eggspectations” for breakfast with scrambled eggs, cheddar and kale, “The Revolution” for lunch featuring ham, Brie, and spicy Dijon mustard, and the “Berry Manilow” for dessert starring a cream cheese spread and wild blueberry preserves imported from France.
He also offers the tip of stopping in for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack on the weekdays, as those are the quietest times in the shop. If you’re coming for weekend brunch, expect a wait.
“We’ve had a line out the door every Saturday for ten years,” Mallia says. “We must be doing something right.”